The first half hour was reminiscent of other performances this rendition of the Vancouver Whitecaps has provided. The game was close, at least on the score line. Through Jake Nerwinski the Whitecaps even enjoyed a lead - albeit one that lasted for less than 60 full seconds as Judson leveled the scores with his first goal of the year.
It was all downhill from there, but let’s at least look at how each player fared individually.
For reference, my barometer of a professional, relatively mistake free performance is a 6.0, deviating higher or lower from that point respectively.
Maxime Crepeau – 16 – 10.0 – The man set the record for the most saves by a keeper in Major League Soccer history, and without him, this would have been one of the ugliest losses in Whitecaps history. I don’t really think I can say more about how important he has been to the 2019 Whitecaps, nor how big of a miss he would be (touch wood) should he not be able to appear for them for any reason.
Best keeper in the league.
Jake Nerwinski – 28 – Do – Got his first goal in MLS, and for that matter, his first goal or assist in 2019. Outside of that, he won just 1 of 4 duels, made one interception, 3 recoveries and committed a foul in his only attempted tackle.
Doneil Henry – 2 – We – Certainly committed in his return to the starting XI, won 2 of his 4 aerial battles, and made 3 tackles and 4 recoveries, to go with 6 clearances throughout the match. That said, when the ball is coming at you for 90% of the time, maybe even those stats could have been padded a bit.
Derek Cornelius – 13 – Really - Steady again in the heart of defence, with 6 clearances, Derek also won 3 of his 4 tackle attempts and also 2 of his 4 aerials to mirror Doneil Henry.
Ali Adnan – 53 – Need – Completed just 56% of his passes on the night, which is just a horrid completion rate for a defender. I realise he’s trying to make things happen, but clearly he’s overstretching what he, and his teammates are capable of at times. Still, Ali Adnan, Best Player – won all of his duels, made 8 recoveries, and 4 interceptions.
Andy Rose – 15 – A - This is where things get bad. The midfield has been overrun so many times, and yesterday they might as well have not even been there. Rose made 0 tackles, complete 0 dribbles, and completed just 62% of his passes. He was bad on Saturday, and gave the team little stability for a man that is trying to make his name as an organizer in the middle of the park.
In-beom Hwang – 4 – Rating – He is growing into this Pirlo style role, even though that particular comparison is unfair to Hwang himself. Thing is, Pirlo had a Gattuso to partner him in the middle of the park and allow him to pull the strings. While Hwang made a number of good passes, completing 81% of his attempted passes on the night, he’s being stretched far too thin and asked to cover the entire center of the park at times. With 5 recoveries on the night, his individual numbers look decent, but he, as well -as his teammates, are culpable for what was a completely one sided beatdown at the hands of San Jose.
Russell Teibert – 31 – For – With the amount of space that Espinoza had, I honestly forgot he was on the pitch for a long period of time. Statistically, he had 5 recoveries and completed 88% of his passes – but he only had 25 touches, the least of any outfield player in the entire match. If Hwang needs a ball winning pit bull in midfield to help him, you would think it should be Rusty – but it just wasn’t on Saturday.
Theo Bair – 50 – The – Got the assist on Nerwinski’s goal, and is growing with each game he plays. Theo clearly has great technical ability in his dribbling, which couples well with his natural build and athleticism. It’s good that he’s getting minutes, and he’s taking advantage of them to stake his place in the team. But this is becoming a bit of a larger fish in a smaller pond when looking at it. He’s a bright young talent, but the team needs to improve around him if he’s ever going to start to fulfill some of his promise.
Fredy Montero – 12 – Rest – Much like Teibert, I forgot he was out there for a long period of time. He had one attempted shot from distance that flew way over the bar, and he did get credited with 8 recoveries, but I can’t even find a single positive action he had in the 77 minutes he played to highlight.
Yordy Reyna – 29 – Of – I feel bad for Yordy sometimes, and at others, I feel like he’s the saving grace of watching this team. Going forward, he’s always likely to create something against any opposition. The thing is, week in, week out, he seems to be just lost on an island way up the pitch without anyone else on his team able to link up with him. If the ‘Caps are going to get the best out of Reyna in 2020 or 2021 assuming they pick up his contract options, he’s going to need a friend to play with.
Tosaint Ricketts – 87 – These – Full of pace, and stuff. In his half hour on the pitch, Ricketts looked like another outlet to try to get the Whitecaps out of their own defensive third. There was a couple of decent interchanges of pass with Reyna, one of which lead to a Reyna effort that went well over the bar, but that’s about it.
Lass Bangoura – 19 – Guys – He just looks off the pace of the league, and in his 15 minutes on the pitch I just felt like attacking moves died at his feet. He completed just 3 passes, no dribbles or tackles in his time on the pitch.
Michaell Chirinos – 33 - ? – Making his debut after only just arriving at the club, Chirinos could perhaps be forgiven for not having a solid understanding of his teammates’ movement, or technical abilities, or ability to play professional football. From what I saw though, he’s not afraid of the physical side of the game as he very quickly rode a tackle from Jackson Yueill, and also made a couple of decent dribbles even if they lead to nothing. He’s got potential, and that’s about as good as it gets.
So, with that, we close the book on the Whitecaps v. San Jose for the 2019 season. If you haven’t read the full match report, you can do so here [ link ]. Clearly even though the Whitecaps had been on ‘better’ form heading into Saturday’s match, Matias Almeyda has clearly bested Marc Dos Santos in head to head matches, as far as first season coaches in MLS. That and form doesn’t mean anything when you have the most generous team in MLS coming to your home ground.
Perhaps the Whitecaps should show up with their goals gift wrapped when they arrive at Saputo Stadium on Wednesday?